Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

© 2012

Baby Lady gets tickled with me sometimes because when we fix something really good I always tell her “you could serve that on a rock and the rock would be delicious.” This meal is one of those “You could serve that on a rock” moments. The sauce that comes out of this dish is one of the finest I have ever made or eaten, bar none. That says a lot because in my real cheffing days my favorite meal was simply rice pilaf and a wonderful sauce. You see, I love sauces. My favorite task in the kitchen was as a saucier. I love the color of the sauce on the dish, the silkiness of the sauce on your palate with the tantalizing aroma and amazing flavors dancing on your tongue. You can take a so-so protein and make it into a wonderful meal with a beautiful sauce. By no means, however, is the chicken in this dish a so-so protein. This meal nails it in every way, except it isn’t the prettiest dish I have posted. Oh well.

Now I know some of you are saying 40 cloves of garlic?????? That’s a lot of garlic. Don’t let the number of cloves of garlic deter you from making this recipe. The 40 cloves of garlic is accompanied by 2 chickens cut into 8 pieces each (a total of 16 pieces) which equates to 2-1/2 cloves per piece of chicken. Also, the garlic is slow cooked which mellows the flavors. Last, if you are worried about the peeling that much garlic, don’t. Just check out my post on Tips and Techniques – Peeling a lot of Garlic. You can actually peel 40 cloves of garlic using this technique in 3 minutes. So don’t let the amount of garlic scare you away from making this dish.

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a classic French comfort food. There are innumerable ways to fix it. Some people roast it which will give you that crispy chicken skin loved by all and roasted garlic served with a nice rustic bread. Some people cook it in a crock pot/slow cooker as an easy week day dinner. Others cook it on the stove top, the traditional, classic way. However you cook it the dish is wonderful and the garlic is out of this world. You also won’t have to worry about vampires. 😉

This recipe is cooked on the stove top in the traditional way. Give it a try as I’m sure you will enjoy it.


  • 2 chickens, 4 lb. each, cut into 8 pieces each for a total of 16 pieces
  • Generously season with salt and fresh ground pepper (I prefer white pepper for this dish)
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup Calvados (you can substitute a nice brandy for the Calvados – I just like Calvados)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
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Clean and cut the chickens. When cutting chickens in this fashion I cut the breast into 4 pieces leaving the wing attached to one of the pieces. If you prefer, cut the wings into separate piece but still cut the beat pieces in half because they are too large otherwise. Also, I always remove the back of the chicken from dishes like this, as well.

One you have cut the chickens pat them dry with a towel, mince your thyme and rosemary, and measure out your liquids. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.

Take a heavy dutch oven (no less than 8 qts.) and heat over high heat on the stove.  Add 3 Tbsp of olive oil and begin to add the chicken skin side down.

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Work in batches and DO NOT OVERCROWD THE POT. Cook the chicken until the skin turns nice, golden brown, roughly 4 – 5 minutes.

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Turn the pieces and brown them on other side until golden brown. Remove from the pot, put in a casserole pan, cover and start the next batch. When all of the chicken is cooked, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic to the pot.  Cook the garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat.

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Now add the liquids, rosemary and thyme and deglaze the pan scraping up the sucs.

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Next add the chicken back to the pot covering the garlic.

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Cover and place the pot over very low heat and cook for another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the pot from the heat and rearrange the chicken pieces transferring the pieces on the bottom to the top and the pieces on the top to the bottom. Return the pot to very low heat and continue to cook another 10 – 15 minutes until the juices from the chicken run clear.

Remove the pot from the heat, transfer the chicken to a baking pan and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

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Pour one cup of liquid from the pot into another vessel.

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Add 3 Tablespoons flour

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Using an immersion blender, blend flour into liquid until smooth.

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Pour liquid back into pot and whisk to incorporate.

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Increase heat to medium high and cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flour to cook out into the liquid and thicken the sauce. When thickened add 1/4 up of heavy cream and whisk to incorporate.

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Place a couple of pieces of chicken on a plate with some rice or mashed potatoes and cover with the sauce making sure to put a couple of large garlic on each plate. Baby Lady mashed her garlic into the sauce. I simply ate them. They were soooooo delicious. Served with a wonderful truffle salted roasted asparagus for a delicious meal.

© 2012

8 thoughts on “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic”

  1. You can NEVER have too much garlic in my opinion (as long as your other half is either a fellow garlic lover or very understanding). This looks delicious and thanks for the tips on preparing garlic – love it but don’t love the smell on my fingers, your ‘cocktail shaking’ method looks very efficient 🙂

    1. Good to see you around and thanks for the comment. Baby Lady loves garlic as much as I do so we eat a lot of garlic. The garlic trick really works but you gotta shake it vigorously for 30 seconds. You can also do it with a few cloves but it’s too much work and gives you an extra pot and lid to clean.

  2. I love this dish nd have sampled it mny imes! The image I love best here is with the braising liquid, those lovely cloves & the perfectly chopped herbs there, that to me is when the sauce really starts to come together, lovely…

    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I agree with you on the photo. The sauce the braising liquid creates is unbelievably delicious and the soft, creamy garlic at the end that melts in your mouth is heavenly. It’s a good thing we like this dish because there are only 3 of us and it takes a while for us to eat 2 full chickens. 😮

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